A group of 27 NGOs sent an open letter to the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) today urging the Bank not to finance the Southern Gas Corridor, a 3500 kilometres-long chain of gas pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe.
When Maroš Šefčovič, the Commission's Vice President for the Energy Union visited Bucharest in October 2015 to discuss Romania’s role in the overhaul of Europe's energy sector, his speech seemed promising at first. It focused on renewables, energy efficiency and research and innovation – all issues that are rarely on the Romanian public agenda. But eventually, much like the Commission's assessment for Romania (pdf) that was presented during the visit, the message and its level of ambition felt more like much ado about nothing.
On 20 November 2015, following the presentation of the first State of the Energy Union, Vice-President Šefčovič hosted a Twitter Chat. Also several Bankwatchers joined the discussion. Here are some points we found noteworthy.
It’s no secret that Poland is not the biggest proponent of ambitious European climate and energy policies. Rather than give Poland the extra nudge it needs to transform its increasingly obsolete energy system, the Energy Union risks sustaining – and legitimising – the Polish addiction to fossil fuels.
Similar to what we have seen in other countries, when it comes to concrete projects in Slovakia the Energy Union proposals are so far to a much larger extent aiming at security of (gas) supply than they are at decarbonisation.
The Sport for Rights coalition strongly condemns the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova to a staggering 7.5 years in jail. On 1 September, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes convicted Ismayilova on charges of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion, and abuse of office. Ismayilova was acquitted of the charge of inciting someone to attempt suicide. Sport for Rights considers the charges against Ismayilova to be politically motivated and connected to her work as an investigative journalist, particularly her exposure of corruption among the ruling Azerbaijani elite.
The route and the three pipelines of the Southern Gas Corridor.
The Southern Gas Corridor, a system of mega-pipelines meant to bring gas from the Caspian region to Europe, is unnecessary in light of gas demand projections in the European Union's 2050 Energy Strategy. Neither will the project make European countries independent from Russian gas. At the same time, the USD 45 billion investments will boost Azerbaijan's dictatorial regime and cause damage to local communities and the environment in transit countries like Turkey and Italy.